Rolling around Catalina

I’m back on Catalina Island again.  This place is seriously my California happy spot.  (I qualify with California, because I also have a Wyoming happy spot.)  I love being here for a couple reasons: 1) Because I have the most amazing memories of coming here with my family as a kid.  We came out here all the time when my dad had a boat and would just hang out swimming in the bay and baking in the sun.  2) Because my mom used to come here all the time as a kid wither her family.  I never really knew my Grandpa Ducks (mom’s dad) because he passed away when I was 2 years old.  So, being here and knowing some stories from my mom’s youth makes me feel closer to the amazing man I never knew in life.  (I say “in life” because I’m convinced that ghost Grandpa Ducks likes to play practical jokes on me now.  But that is a story for a different day.)  3) Because everything is “walking distance” and I’m forced to be active while feeling safe in the enclosed little town.


My routine is pretty normal.  I get off the boat and wheel to my hotel room.  Today I am staying at a different hotel because my normal one was booked up.  I’m actually really loving this new hotel, and not just because it was closer to the pier where the ferry lets out.  It’s mostly because they have a wine and cheese hour with free stuff.  I only had 1 glass of wine.  No cheese.  Look at me- so healthy!  I get to my room and hang out for a few minutes.  Then I journey out to the little strip of stores and look around.  I sit by the water for a while and, if I remember, read my Kindle.  This time it was Lady Chatterley’s Lover, because it’s “banned book” month for the book club that I’m leading.  (Nerd alert!)  After that, I go to get dinner.  It’s usually either a sandwich from Vons or a slice of pizza.  Tonight’s dinner was a slice of pepperoni.  Hey, at least I didn’t have the cheese earlier, right?  Then, depending on the temperature, I either go back to my room and watch TV before turning early for bed, or I go back to sit by the water.  It’s pretty chilly and I didn’t bring a heavy sweatshirt, so I think I may forgo nighttime beach hangout.

But, my favorite routine of all: going to the candy/taffy store to get a caramel apple.  #DontTellMyTrainer  But, I figure it’s not so bad.  Ice cream would be worse.  I mean, the main ingredient of my dessert is apple.  It’s so healthy that you can disregard that it is slathered in caramel deliciousness.  Though, I suppose ice cream has milk which is calcium which is good for bones.  So ice cream is healthy too.  I’ll have both.  (I kid.  I kid.)

Today is the first time I’ve been away from the Little Mister for a significant amount of time.  I’m pretty sad.  He got up early this morning and then took a nap in my arms from 6:30-8:30am.  So, at least I have the sweet little memory to think back on.  And I know the Hubs is taking good care of him.  But it’s still weird: this used to be my favorite work place, but now I’m not nearly as exited to be here.  Man, kids ruin everything!  (Again, I kid.  I kid.)  I can’t wait to bring him to Catalina with me!  He’s going to be the third generation of amazing memories from this island!

I met a woman here today who owns a boat touring company.  She said she has a boat that she can easily get me on in my wheelchair.  I’m so stoked to check that out soon!  Being on the water is amazing!  And it’s one of the things that I love that I can still do.  I’m scared to try motortcycles, because I don’t know that I can transfer onto one.  And I hate falling.  But, riding quads was how I grew up and I miss it!  And I miss riding my bike (bicycle).  But, being on a boat is something I can still do and still love it.  So, I can’t wait to try her boat out!

Ok, so I know it seems like I talked a lot about the food I’m eating and it may sound bad. But, I did roll around town for about an hour and a half so I think I worked it out.  And I’m pretty sure that vacation work cancels out calories.  I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.  #SeriouslyDontTellMyTrainer

Keep pushing ahead!

Thursday marked a huge day for me. Momentous. Amazing. You get the idea. It was big. It was another return to normalcy for me.

Before the surgery in 2013, I used to love taking cases on Catalina Island. Yes, the sleepy little island community has a one room court house and people do commit crimes there. Excuse me. They’re accused to committing crimes there. They’re mostly low level crimes revolving around drinking. I know I’ve talked about Catalina and my love of it before. I remember talking specifically about how stoked I was to go back there the first time. Well, I’ve check-mated that stokedness. (What, is that not a word??)

I had my first overnight solo trip since the big day occurred last August. I figured that there’s no time like the present to push myself. I’m walking better. I’m driving all over by myself. Why not try going to Catalina by myself? Plus, they changed the morning boat to 6:15am which means I would have had to leave my house at 3:45am. Um, yeah. I think I’ll cruise over the night before.

Most of the hotels there are old, multi-level, not so wheelchair friendly. But, there are a few that could work. The first one, that I was excited about, was booked when I called. Whoops. Did I wait too long?? I called the night before to book assuming there weren’t that many people in need of an ADA room on a random Thursday in their off-season. Guess I was wrong. Then I called two other hotels and they both had rooms available. I decided on one (it was $20 cheaper and well, I’m cheap) and booked it.

I left work on Thursday and drove down to Long Beach for the ferry. The cool thing is that I wasn’t even nervous. I practically grew up on Catalina. I know it pretty well. And the young guys who work on the ferry are so helpful to me. I knew that I’d be ok. The interesting thing was that when I was in line to get on the ferry, a man in line came over to ask if I needed any help getting on the boat or with my bags. I politely declined and informed him that the guys who work there always help me and that I would be OK. I thought that was super nice of him to offer though! The boat ride over was peaceful and uneventful (read: no dolphin sightings and no big swells). When we docked, a random lady in a really nice suit (yes, I notice those things because you can’t beat a beautifully made suit! In fact, my goal in life is to be so successful at my job that I can have all custom suits hand-made for me by some old Italian man. Not sure why he has to be Italian. It’s just the way I’ve always pictured it) asked me if I needed any help getting off the boat. People are so nice! Have you ever noticed that we focus on the bad things people do and not the nice ones? If you think about it, most people are nice. At least, in my post-trip confidence boost glow, I’m all happy on the human race.

I rolled over to the hotel and checked in with ease. In fact, after I checked in, I noticed that I beat some other people from the ferry to the hotel. I do tend to roll pretty fast. Why not?? You can’t beat the thrill of the wind in your face.

My room was so nice! Very easy to access and get around. I may or may not have fallen once when trying to transfer to this cool lounge chair. If my mom is reading this: definitely may not have happened. To everyone else: whoops, I did. But the rest of the night was pretty status quo: rolled over to a little pizza joint to grab a slice (man, my Italian roots are really coming out in this post!!), hung out near the bay for a minute (but it was cold and drizzly, so that was only a minute), did work and talked to a client for a while. The next morning I rolled on over to my favorite courthouse in California (it was literally one block from my hotel), did my business and before I knew it, was back on the ferry going home. Nothing scary or worrisome. All very easy and great! The kind of thing that makes you want to keep on trying new things!

I guess that’s the goal in life: to keep moving forward, keep progressing, and keep pushing yourself to try new things!